Ever wanted to make your own game but didn't know where to start? Using the Makey Makey and a laptop or PC, you can take advantage of the easy to use program called Scratch to dip your toes into creating your very first game.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- A Makey Makey kit
- A small piece of cardboard
- Several coins
- A PC or laptop with a USB port
- Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu)
Step 2: Create your custom controller
For our controller, we chose to go very minimal. We attached the coins to the cardboard with one side of the alligator clips, and then the other to the Makey Makey board itself. At this point, since we're just beginning, we went with just the Up, Down, Left, Right and Space connections. Don't forget to do one coin for the ground bar, which is important as it will need to be touched in conjunction with any of the other coins.
Note that with the Makey Makey, you have several keys along with the up, down, space, etc. ones that are just on the front. As you progress, be sure to take advantage of them!
Step 3: Connect your controller
Time to connect the controller to your PC. Let's take a test drive of the controller to make sure everything is working right. Just open a new text document and begin pressing the coins (making sure to touch the one coin that is the ground bar at all times). Use your keyboard to make several lines of text. Now, using the coins, navigate left and right, up and down, make spaces, etc. Ensure that each coin has a good connection.
Everything test out ok? Great, now it's time to get programming.
Step 4: Download and Install Scratch
Head over to http://scratch.mit.edu/ and get the latest copy of scratch.
Once you have it, open it and look around.
- You have your commands on the left bar,
- The middle is where you will drag the commands to, in order to create your code
- The right side shows your sprite (the default is a cat), which is the character you will use to move as your first attempt.
To start, Click on the "Control" icon, grab the icon that says "when Space key pressed" and drag it to the middle window. You'll notice that Space is a dropdown. That's where you can change what key you want to be pressed, to then do a function. Let's leave it with Space and instead look back to the left bar. Click on "Sound", then click and drag the icon for "play sound Meow". Again, there is a dropdown where meow is. When you move on to do more complicated things, you can add sounds by recording or downloading them, then choose them here.
There you go, now go ahead and press the coin on your new controller that is attached to the "Space" section on the Makey Makey board. Did it make a sound on the PC? If not, check your connections, check your speaker, etc. When you do end up getting it to Meow, stop and congratulate yourself! You just made your controller control the character on your screen and made it Meow. Now go ahead and add a few more Controls to the screen. Do one for Up, Down, Left, Right. Feel free to follow the screen shot.
Step 5: You did it!
If you followed all the instructions from the previous step... you're done! You just created your first little mini game where you get to control a cat and make it move around the box by using your Makey Makey controller.
Ready to take it to the next level? Why not try this maze that the team at Scratch created:
It's a simple maze game, from the Scratch Team, that uses the arrows to test your skills in getting through the maze. Feel free to also look at the remixes, and let your imagination soar.
Using these commands, you too can now make your own game! Play, test, troubleshoot... it's all part of the process! If you make a game and you want to share it, Scratch allows you to create an account and upload it to share.